Sasha and Istia, two horses based near Garlieston, Dumfries and Galloway, have just completed a trek the whole way across Scotland – and further!
The Big Hoof, a Scottish registered charity, set off on their journey from St Andrews to the island of Iona to raise money for Venture Trust – an organisation that focuses on addiction, trauma, isolation and crime in Scotland. Along with 6 other horses, the journey saw over 40 people take part: on foot, by bike, on horseback and runners too.
Beginning on 3rd July from St Andrews Cathedral, the group made their way across Scotland, walking and riding through Perth, along the south shores of Loch Tay, tracking the Rob Roy Way, through Glen Lyon, connecting to the West Highland Way, before reaching a rainy Oban on 13th. After securing the horses in a field, the group then cycled 35 miles across Mull before taking the ferry to mystical Iona – the destination of the charitable adventure. The route was inspired by St Columba’s Way.
The aim of the journey was to raise £5,000 for Venture Trust, supporting their Outdoor Therapy Project. So far, the team have raised £6,600.
Last year, these two horses completed a 110-day journey across Europe for a charity that combats trauma suffered by refugees: 2800km, from Siena, Italy to Cape Finisterre, Spain. After the horses were rested in the Pyrenees, they were transported to Garlieston, where they have been based since May. This journey across Europe is currently being made into a film, due to be released in November at the Kendal Film Festival.
Kiki, director of The Big Hoof and owner of Istia is based near Garlieston, where she is creating a documentary focused on grief and the healing powers of art and the Galloway landscape. Louis, founder of The Big Hoof and owner of Sasha, works part-time at The Bookshop in Wigtown. He is currently writing a book about the journey across Europe.
The Big Hoof is a Scottish registered mental health charity that promotes adventure and wellbeing through the power of the horse. Founded by Louis in 2020, the organisation has now raised over £80,000 for causes surrounding mental health, terminal illness and child and refugee welfare. Louis and Kiki look forward to continue using Dumfries and Galloway as the base for their charitable adventures. ‘The air, the peace, the sea… the kindness of the people and the wide green spaces are the perfect breeding ground for mad ideas and happy horses!’
Please visit www.thebighoof.com for more information on how to join the next trip. You don’t need to know how to ride – you just need a decent pair of shoes, a willingness for adventure and a keenness to do some good!